J-1 Scholars & J-2 Dependents Applying Abroad
You must have your DS-2019 form(s) in hand in order to apply for your visa. When you receive your DS-2019 form, review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa for location specific information. U.S. consulates and embassies will generally require that you:
- Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee ($180). Print the SEVIS receipt and bring a copy to your visa interview. The SEVIS fee must be paid in addition to visa fees. *The fee does not need to be paid for J-2 dependents, nor does the fee need to be paid for visa renewals.
- Submit the Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Pay the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee, also known as the MRV fee ($160)
- Pay the Reciprocity Fee (only if applicable). Only a limited number of countries are required to pay a reciprocity fee. If you are not sure if you must pay this fee, contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that you will be applying for your visa for confirmation.
- Make an Appointment to interview for the J-visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The consulate will not schedule an appointment for you. Please review the Department of State website for visa interview tips.
- Bring Appropriate Documents to Your Interview, such as DS-2019 form, UCSF Appointment Letter, Financial Certification, Visa Application Confirmation Page, Visa Application Fee Payment Receipt, Passport (valid at least 6-months beyond your program start date). If your passport is valid for a limited time period upon U.S. entry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will limit your duration of legal status to shorter than your DS-2019 program end date.
For an overview of the J-1 visa application process, please see the U.S. Department of State website.
NOTE: Canadian Citizens do not need to apply for a visa. However, Canadians must still present a SEVIS fee receipt and a valid passport, financial certification, UCSF appointment letter and DS-2019 form to CBP.
Please note that J-1 scholars (and their J-2 dependents) can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the DS-2019 start date. This is strictly for settling in and preparing for your program; you may not begin work until the start date listed on your DS-2019 form.
H-1B Temporary Worker
After receiving H-1B approval notice (I-797 form), an international scholar applying for an H-1B visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will need to present the following:
- Passport. Must be valid for at least six months beyond the H-1B approval end date.
- Department Letter. This is to support your H-1B visa application. Please see sample letters. This should be dated close to date of travel.
- I-797 Form. Original H-1B approval notice (petitioned by UCSF). Embassy/Consular officer must return original to scholar in order to present to Immigration Inspector upon entry to U.S.
- I-129 Form. Copy of University’s H-1B petition.
- LCA Form. Copy of University’s Labor Condition Application.